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Trump calls Warmbier's death 'total disgrace'

All News 01:26 June 21, 2017

WASHINGTON, June 20 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that it was "a total disgrace" that American college student Otto Warmbier died just days after he was released from North Korea in a coma after a long detention.

"It's a disgrace what happened to Otto. It's a total disgrace what happened to Otto. It should never, ever be allowed to happen. And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different," Trump told reporters at the start of talks with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.

"What happened to Otto is a disgrace. And I spoke with his family. His family is incredible ... but he should have been brought home a long time ago," he said.

Trump calls Warmbier's death 'total disgrace' - 1

Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, died Monday, six days after he returned to his Ohio home in a coma after 17 months of detention in the North for taking down a political propaganda sign from a hotel.

North Korean officials claimed Warmbier fell into a coma in March last year due to botulism and a sleeping pill. Doctors in the U.S. said Warmbier had severe brain damage and was in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness."

His family blamed the "awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans."

After Warmbier's death, Trump released an official statement mourning his death and condemning the "brutality" of the North Korea regime.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said in a statement that the U.S. holds North Korea accountable for Warmbier's "unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained."

Three more Americans are still detained in the North, all of them Korean-Americans.

Two, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang-dok, were detained earlier this year, while the third, Kim Dong-chul, was arrested in October 2015 and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor on charges of espionage and subversion.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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